Buddha tattoo woman wins compensation

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Image caption Naomi Coleman was deported from Sri Lanka

A woman who was deported from Sri Lanka for having a tattoo of the Buddha on her arm has won compensation.

Naomi Coleman, from Coventry, was detained for four days in April 2014.

The country’s Supreme Court said her treatment – during which a prison guard made sexually-explicit remarks to her and she was forced to give police money – was “scandalous and horrifying”.

It ruled her rights had been violated and granted her compensation of 800,000 Sri Lankan rupees – about £4,000.

Officers involved in her arrest were also ordered to pay her compensation.

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Ms Coleman, a mental health nurse, took legal action against the Sri Lankan authorities after her return to the UK.

The court ruled there was “no legal basis” for her arrest and said she had been subject to “degrading treatment” by some officers and a prison guard.

‘Really frightened’

In particular, one guard had “made several lewd, obscene and disparaging remarks of a sexually-explicit nature” towards Ms Coleman, while some police officers had forced her to give them money.

Her lawyer JC Weliamuna told the BBC her deportation had been “contrary to the law governing immigration and emigration”.

Ms Coleman, who was arrested at Bandaranaike International Airport in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo, said the detention had left her “really frightened”.

“I was told I had to go to court and then I started to get really worried,” she previously said.

After an order was made to have her deported, Ms Coleman spent a night in prison in Negombo and two nights in a detention centre while security checks were carried out.

She said she told police she practised Buddhism and had attended meditation retreats and workshops in Thailand, India, Cambodia and Nepal.

Sri Lankan authorities take strict action against perceived insults to Buddhism, which is the religion of the island’s Sinhalese population.


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Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-coventry-warwickshire-41995069

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